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How to start a design project

July 13, 2017

When I hear people say, they can’t create their own images because they’re not creative, I often tell them that 50% of the work is not even creative at all. Design isn’t all about strokes of genius and finding inspiration. Design is a lot about concept and purpose. And every design project starts with preparation. Good preparation does already half the job for you. So let’s take a look at how to start a design project the right way.


Every design project starts with preparation. Let's take a look at the steps you need to take in order to make your next design project a success | thatistheday.com #creative #graphicdesign #designtips


How to start a design project


There are a couple of things you need to figure out before even getting really creative as are:




Every project should start with a goal. If you don’t know why you’re doing something, it’s always harder for you to actually create it. So the first thing to do is to write down a specific goal for your project.




Know your target audience, so you can create with them in mind. You need to have clarity on what attracts your audience to be able to design something that has an impact on them. Trouble defining your target audience? 


Related post: How to define your target audience


Intended use


What sort of project are you creating? Is it for web or print? Where will it be published? Different platforms have different setups and needs. What works on Pinterest wouldn’t work on Instagram for example. Make sure to know all the requirements you need and create for one specific use.




This brings us directly to the format. Make sure you know the exact format you need to ensure good quality. Know the required image size and file format. 


Related post: How to choose the right file format




Now it’s time to do some topic related research. If you’re going to write a text for your design, it’s time to look for keywords, quotes you want to add or related topics. This can help to orientate yourself and get some focus, as well as prepare your copy before you start creating.


If you need photos, fonts, or any other style elements for your project, that’s the time to assemble everything. Maybe you need to buy or download them or you need for your client to send them over.




It’s always good to look for some inspiration before you really get going. If it’s looking for color inspiration or different styles that might work. Get your creative juices flowing before you start. If you’re feeling stuck, check out my post on finding inspiration over here.


Related post: 10 ways to find inspiration for your next design project




Before you go to your computer. Take some time to draw a rough project outline. This doesn’t have to be beautiful. It’s just for you. It’s to sort your ideas and get a general vision of what could work. To do this with pen and paper is often better than doing it directly in the file you create.




Finally, we get to your actual project file now. Make sure to set everything up as prepared. The right file size and file format. Think about color modes and print settings as well.


+ create a grid


That’s what I always do. I use guides to create a grid to help me position the elements inside my file. It lets me see the main focus points of the design.

Related post: How to break through a creative block


I hope you got some helpful tips from this post. Tell me how you usually start your design projects in the comments! Do you have certain habits or a fully planned out process?




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